Ocon: Force India not panicking over slow start

Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM11.
© XPB 

Esteban Ocon insists that Force India isn't panicking after a disappointing start to the 2018 season in Australia.

The team has finished in fourth place in the constructors standings for the last two seasons.

But their performance in Melbourne suggests that the team might have fallen behind rivals such as Renault, Haas and McLaren.

Ocon and his team mate Sergio Perez both finished the season opener outside the top ten. It's the first time that Force India has come away from a race weekend without points since last year's Monaco Grand Prix.

"I suppose some are afraid that after Melbourne things will continue to be like that," Ocon told France's Auto Hebdo this week.

"So that there is no misunderstanding, I want to tell everyone that there is no panic.

"Yes, we are behind - and there is a lot to do to return to the fight for the top five positions," he admitted. "But I'm not worried.

"Last year we struggled in Melbourne too, but we quickly made progress. The season is long.

"Everything changes very quickly in Formula 1," the 21-year-old French driver added. "And our car has great potential for improvement.

"We already made a big step forward in comparison to the tests. It was easier to drive the car in Australia.

He predicted that the team could turn the corner as early as this weekend's second round race in Bahrain.

"We do not believe that we have failed already," he insisted. "The key to success is development.

"We learned a lot about the chassis in Australia and we are preparing a lot of new parts. Some of them will be on the car in Bahrain already.

"Our car is better and faster than its predecessor. However our rivals made more progress," he admitted.

"We only have small problems. Believe me, we are now trying to put everything right."

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